Marco Civil Air Patrol participates in national pilot check course

Marco Island: To assure maximum safety, maintaining the proficiency of Civil Air Patrol aircraft pilots is an on-going challenge. One of the key steps is periodic mandatory check rides for all pilots. But who checks the checker?

Marco Island and Naples Senior Squadron members recently participated in an excellent two-day annual National Check Pilot Standardization Course at Lakeland. Members of the Director of Valuation Office conducted the program.

CAP Col. Moersch, Florida Wing Commander, spoke to the group emphasizing professionalism and the need for establishing high standards for all CAP pilots. Col. Moersch very appropriately challenged the pilots to truly raise the standard and insure that the pilots who successfully complete check rides have the appropriate skills and judgment to successfully carry out the increasingly complex CAP activities.

New on this year’s agenda was a concept, suggested by Alan Davis of the Naples Squadron, known as the Flawed Form 5 and 91 Check Ride.

Form 5 CAP Pilot Flight Evaluation outlines the 19-step evaluation checklist, ranging from oral discussion to flight maneuvers to safety awareness, and review of certificates and documents. Form 91 CAP Mission Pilot Checkout outlines the 9-step checklist of mission flight tasks. The pilots are evaluated on their ability to perform the tasks assigned, knowledge of procedures, and judgment.

A CAP member pilot, certified by a check pilot as having completed a Form 5 Check Ride, may now act as pilot-in-command of a CAP aircraft. The pilot may then go on to take a Form 91 check ride, which qualifies the pilot to fly CAP aircraft on CAP-authorized mission flights.

Further standard qualifications are used to certify Cadet Orientation Flight and the Check Pilots.

With the use of this concept and the new online National Check Ride Interactive Course, there is no need for as much classroom presentation. More time was spent on interactive discussions on how to identify correct flaws.

The DOV and the course staff prepared simulated check ride scenarios in which the pilot receiving the check ride would commit a number of errors during the actual flight. This allowed an opportunity for the attending check pilots to identify the errors and discuss to how they would best handle the situation.

The discussion groups were led by Bob Berlam and Alan Davis of the Naples Squadron. These discussions between the pilots following these simulated check rides gave an excellent insight on the type of errors that were seen and how they could best be handled.

There were separate sessions for Form 5 and Form 91 check pilots, where the check pilots reviewed all the many items and how best to qualify the pilot being checked.

In another discussion session, a series of questions dealing with CAP and federal regulations, and similar questions were presented to the attendees. The audience would select an answer and the results were displayed on the screen. The discussion that followed would then enlighten why a particular answer was more appropriate than another, making for a very interesting and informative session.

The CAP Southeast Region monitor, Lt. Col. Joe B. Brown, said “I had the opportunity to give, in effect, four check rides while in attendance. I found that the pilots I checked were extremely professional and I was impressed with their skill level. Possibly the greatest learning was how closely members from various groups can work together as a team.”

Staff members Lt. Cols. Lee Henderson (Incident Commander), D. Sweeney (Air Operations Branch Director), and Ray Rosenberg (Logistics) set the professional tone that resulted in the positive feedback.

Local CAP Naples and Marco Island Squadron participants included Bob Berlam, Allen Davis, Ted Brousseau, Ben Moore, Richard Farmer, Lee Henderson, Bob MacNeill, and Ray Rosenberg.

Also, there were two wives, Ann Berlam and Barbara MacNeill, who coordinated all the lunches and other amenities.

At the conclusion, the attendees complimented the staff, and the rest of the Florida Wing, for their dedication and work in presenting an outstanding National Check Pilot Standardization Course.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 58,000 members nationwide. CAP performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 72 lives in 2009. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counter-drug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to the more than 23,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. For more information on CAP, visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com

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